Cuyahoga Falls 1918-1925

In 1918, the Falls was prospering, with automobiles starting to take their place beside streetcars.

Still, it was a year of dodged bullets. None of the men in the family was drafted for military service, and no one died of the influenza, although Ada, Guy, Ebba, and Don were all very ill.

Ebba and her friends volunteered at the high school, rolling bandages for the war effort. This experience, along with the family's bout with the Spanish flu, may well have sparked Ebba's interest in nursing.

As the war dragged on, Ebba headed deeper into her awkward phase.


Ebba and her chums belonged to a church group called the Loyal Friends.

The beginning of the owl glasses?

On May 27, 1919, the Prohibition Era began in Ohio, nearly six months before the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed, thanks to the efforts of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Ohio Anti-Saloon League.

Ohioans did not pass this women's suffrage amendment to their state constitution in 1912, but Ohio was the fifth state to ratify the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

Both social movements may have been at play in a major argument Lorenzo had with Ada about this time, in which she spoke up about his drinking. Bob Burns thought that this may have stiffened Guy's resolve to honor a longtime promise he made to Ada to get a cottage of their own.

Guy (upper right) now considered himself a reasonably successful man. He had a good job at Miller Rubber and had been accepted into the Masons, which was the organization of choice for prominent Cuyahoga Falls men. He and Ada had become increasingly involved in the Church of Christ, Guy as alderman and Ada as head of the primary department.

The Apollo Building, located at Front and Portage, was where Guy was inducted into the Masons.

This new prosperity, strengthened by Ada's frugal household economy, gave them the courage to buy this little house on Center Street in the spring of 1920.

It was just a few blocks away from Lorenzo and Mary Rebecca, and within a block of Clyde and May's house, but it ushered in a new era of independence and personal satisfaction.

The property, which occupied almost 1/4 acre, boasted a large rear garden that became the family's pride and joy.

They called it Hollyhock House. Whether this related to Frank Lloyd Wright's house of the same name, built between 1919 and 1921, is not known, but it seems at least possible.


They grew vegetables and flowers, and planted a small cornfield, which supplied the ears they enjoyed roasting over a fire pit in the back yard.

They also kept chickens, and this enterprise turned out to be an important source of livelihood during the early years of the Depression, when they opened up a little business in Akron selling eggs.

One year after they bought the house, on April 6, 1921, Robert Milton Burns was born on the dining room table.


Ada was very sick after Bobby was born, and Ebba, 16 years old at the time, assumed a maternal role for a while, one that she never fully relinquished.
As the 4th child of older parents, Bobby was cherished, but also allowed to roam rather freely around the neighborhood.


The family continued to camp and picnic together, but Ebba was getting ready to expand her orbit.

She graduated from high school in 1923, after taking some classes for credit at a college in the nearby town of Kent. This is a photo of the main college building at Kent State Normal College as it appeared at the time.

From 1923 to 1925, Ebba attended Akron University.

She lived at home during these years, since Akron was just a few miles from Cuyahoga Falls, but she managed to get involved in many activities, especially athletics.

She was a varsity member of all four women's teams at Akron: basketball, riflery, soccer, and field hockey.
The Ugly Duckling was on the move!

1925 was the last year all the Burns children lived under one roof.